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How Empathy Increases Payment Collections

Doctor holding patient's hands

Bills are best described as something no one wants but are a necessary part of life. These days, healthcare bills can be some of the most difficult to pay and patients continue to have a hard time paying them in full. That leads to providers having a difficult time growing or maintaining revenue and cash flow.

It’s easier said than done to remind patients to pay their bills, but what if you tried a different approach to encouraging them to pay their bills, like empathy? It might sound unusual, but it’s the out of box approach that leads to more patient payments.

Here’s how you can implement it at your center.

Be Transparent

Patients value transparency, especially with pricing, and while providers share their prices now, they don’t make them obvious. That leads to surprise bills, which can and should be avoided.

Instead, put your prices where patients can find them. Create a dedicated and easily accessible page on your website just for pricing with search capabilities and written in an easy to understand format. Recognizing that different patients have different health insurance coverage, deductibles, co-pays, etc., a base cost is a good reference point and something that healthcare consumers expect. If patients have questions, include contact information or offer the option to call, text, email or even chat with the practice office. But before anything is done, tell patients what their costs will be so that they can prepare for it. 

Patients will value your honesty and openness upfront in the process and your understanding of costs. If anything, they may find it refreshing. Many patients have a hard time paying medical bills and they need a provider that understands that and is making sure that they have all the information they need so that they aren’t caught off guard. It empowers patients to pay their bills to pay these bills, which leads to an increase in revenue.

Give Patients Options

Healthcare payment collections are much more technology-friendly these days. In addition to cash, checks and credit cards paid in person, through the mail or over the phone, your payment options should now include digital channels such as payment portals and a mobile payment app like Venmo or PayPal.

Payment options should also include payment plans that are tailored toward your patient’s specific needs and reminders that use psychographic segmentation insights to craft messaging, the channel of communication used to send reminders and the frequency of bill pay reminders, to appeal to each patient’s motivations.

This, again, shows that you get where patients are coming from and you’re willing to be flexible. Payment plans may not be the fastest way to get patients to pay their bills, but they feel empowered and willing to pay their bills versus setting them aside. By making their ability to have options a priority, they make you a priority on their bills.  

Utilize Psychographics

Psychographic segmentation is an approach that differentiates consumers into separate groups based on their values, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities. Unlike demographics and other consumer segmentation methods, this one goes into the psychology of the consumer and dives deeper into what motivates the person to take action.

PatientBond adapted this model for healthcare, identifying five patient segments, and integrates psychographics into everything they do with the PatientBond Digital Health Platform. From digital communications to facilitation of bill payments, the model tailors engagement to each patient, and it works because patients want to feel like a person, not a number. Empathy is ingrained within the psychographic model and as a result, it bolsters other efforts providers make to increase patient collections and generates revenue.

These steps may seem simple to do, but many providers don’t take them. If providers can make themselves stand out in the crowd as an empathetic provider, they will have a much easier time collecting patient payments, as well as benefiting from strong word of mouth advocacy, that lead to revenue growth.

Looking for more quick tips to increase patient payments? Take a look at our Patient Payments Tip Sheet.

How to Increase Patient Financial Responsibility Payments

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